27 March 2013
Predator Drones: The Unsettling Impact
Thousands of miles away, an aircraft carrying two hundred pounds of explosives flies over Pakistan while the pilot commands the movement of the innovative aircraft in Indian Springs, Nevada. The highly trained pilot in Nevada is only a mere button away from creating total chaos in the quiet cities of Pakistan. The unmanned aircraft attached with explosives halfway around the world is known as a predator drone, or in short, a drone. The use of drones to surveillance and attack terrorism has been part of the United States of America’s military operations since the war on terror started with President George H. Bush in the 1990s. Only since President Barrack Obama came into office, unmanned aircraft strikes have risen at an alarming rate. In The Reaper Presidency: Obama’s 300th drone strike in Pakistan, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports, “…CIA [drone] attacks have struck Pakistan’s tribal areas on average once every five days during Obama’s first term – six time more than under George W. Bush” (Leo, Ross, & Woods 1). The aftermath of drone strikes are devastating, as the strike destroys cars, buildings, and other land within the surrounding miles of the original target. The United States administration needs to create a new drone policy that would regulate the usage of predator drones to a bare minimum, in which all drones would only be in use for surveillance purposes in military operations. Predator drones are unjustifiably taking the lives of innocent civilians, creating mental and physical health issues on both sides of the war, and ultimately causing more harm than good for the United States as the number of people in the targeted drone countries increasingly grow with anti-Americanism. In the article U.S. Ambassador To Pakistan Quits Over Drone Attacks There, Cameron Munter, the newly resigned ambassador of Pakistan explains the three types of predator drone attacks, “1) high-value targets, 2) imminent threats, mainly to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and 3) signature strikes that are aimed at people who merely look like they’re up to no good – targeting based on behavior rather than identity” (Ismi 29). The first two ideas behind the drone strikes are justifiable; however, the last type of attack should leave Americans repulsed. As a country who strives for equality, peace, and a fair justice system, the citizens believe in fair trials and the essential quote, “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty”. The idea of bombing high targeted terrorists with two hundred pounds of explosives without a fair trial is already stretching the limit of justice. For the government to allow the military to maim and murder people who merely look as if they are participating in “suspicious” activity is completely unethical and is in absolute contradiction of America’s philosophy. Since the rise of predator drones in the military, not only have more civilians in countries such as Pakistan been killed or permanently injured, the American military pilots of these unmanned aircrafts report experiencing high stress levels and even symptoms of Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which effects their judgment and control when making vital life and death decisions while operating the aircraft. After visiting a U.S. air force drone school, Sarah Reardon writes in her article, I Spy, With My Faraway Eye, “…[N]early half of drone pilots reported high stress and burnout” (Reardon 3). The drone pilots have high stress because they are given too many tasks for one to handle. Some of the tasks include flying the predator drone, listening to military on the ground via radio, spying on opponents on the ground, following orders from their commander, and being responsible for the lives of the civilians and soldiers on the ground halfway around the world. With all of the different tasks, many drone pilots cannot rationally decide on their next move as they pilot...
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